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Syria 25, U.n. 20, Assad 14, United States 12, Us 10, U.s. 8, Washington 6, Iraq 6, United Nations 6, America 6, Russia 5, France 5, Israel 5, Chris Wallace 5, Afghanistan 5, Damascus 4, Pentagon 4, George W. Bush 4, Joe Biden 3, James Rosen 3,
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  FOX News    Americas News Headquarters    News/Business. Analysis  
   of the day's news. New.  

    August 31, 2013
    10:00 - 11:01am PDT  

10:00am
this is a fox news alert. we are waiting for rare saturday remarks from president obama at the rose garden. scheduled to begin at 1:15. you take a look at the rose garden will. a fleet of navy destroyers positioned off the coast of syria awaiting word from president obama if america launch essay tack, it will largely go it alone as the international community stands mostly silent. all show some allies are stepping in to support the u.s. the white house says intelligence shows with, quote, high confidence, al assad the president of syria, mandate called a thug and murderer, gassed his own people, including
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hundreds of children. we begin with the latest from national security correspondent jennifer griffin. live at the pentagon. >> reporter: at this point in time the only person that knows what the president is going to say in the rose garden moments from now is the president himself and his small circle of his national security team. here at the pentagon, again, those warships have been at the ready for days. you heard defense secretary hagel say days ago on his trip to asia that they were ready to go. they were awaiting orders from the president. but will is not a sense at this moment in time that a strike is necessarily imminent. in fact, again, reading the tea leaves here, those options that have been presented to the president, and we can report that there were at least three options presented to the president, one would include doing nothing at all militarily. one would include a possible 24-72-hour strike mission. and we are also told that there is a plan that would include up
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to 96 hours of strikes against syrian regime targets. we know from statement it is president, secretary of state ke rry, made in recent days they are not going to attempt regime change. we know no buildup of forces in the gulf. excuse me, eastern med terrain yeah that would suggest that there going to be boots on the ground or any sort of strikes that would last more than a few days' time. >> we will be talking about this, obviously, over the last few days. how long -- we heard all of these destroyers and vessels in the mediterranean are on standby, how long would it take for once the word comes down, would it be almost immediately? >> i'm told that, in fact, once the positions of the targets are placed into the tomahawk missiles most likely this is a -- mission that would involve numerous tomahawk missiles fired from destroyers or other naval assets in the area, that -- in fact, it would probably take --
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if those targ receipts already placed into the tomahawks, it is just a matter of minutes. you just -- you can literally persia button. but if as we reported in recent day it is targets are shifting because you know that assad regime has been emteagptying ou based on position it is president is making with the security officials, it would take probably up to two hours before you would see anything. without it take that -- but it is not a long period of time. they have been at the ready and are at the ready. again, those plans have presented to the president for days now. >> one more thing before we head to ed henry at the white house. we know technology involved here has come leaps and bounds in recent years. you can put missile, cruise missile, not only on a house, but in whatever window inside of that house. you can pinpoint it. there is a challenge here about not only human shields, assad moving people to targets that
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may be of choice. but also not killing rebels. one, people that -- the u.s. is supporting. talk about that for just a second. >> absolutely the difficulty in getting involved in a civil war. it is what many of the war planners have presented to the president. this is -- have you the ability with tomahawks to strike within a five-meter range. however, first of all, they are still making regime conscript in those buildings. there will be -- no such thing as firing a tomahawk without some sort of collateral damage. >> let's head over to the white house. chief white house correspondent, ed henry, standing by. >> good afternoon. as you have been noting, president making remarks less than 15 minutes now in the rose garden. why the rose garden and not the oval office? we are told by the white house official this is an address to the nation. this is not officially announcing, according to the white house official. commencement of military operations. instead it is the president giving the american people, giving the world, an update on
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where he's in his dlibation and where we are with the situation on the ground in syria. obviously the u.n. weapons inspectors have wrapped up their work. they are waiting here inside the white house for that to finish before any potential military operation could begin. number one. number two, as you have been -- saying, there were more briefings here today at the white house via conference call. where you had top national security officials, adviser to the president, here, briefing there conference calls, senate democrats, senate republicans, told by the congressional senior congressional producer, that house members are going to get a briefing as well from the national security aide sunday. we are told, of course, the arab league is expected to meet on sunday as well. just putting all the pieces together, we are going hear from the president to let him say what he is going to say. but -- since the white house official is saying that the president is giving an update on where we are, he could be saying that as he's briefing, consulting with congress, waiting to hear from the arab
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league, he's carefully going through this. he wanted to do things multi-laterally, not on a unilateral basis. after that vote in the british parliament a couple of nights ago, he got a serious blow in terms of his efforts to bring allies together. he has to be very careful to not look like he is rushing into a military operation here. >> ed henry live at the white house. we will head back just before the president speaks. let's bring in our panel here. fox news sunday anchor chris wallace. fox news military analyst oliver north. discuss what they think about the president's upcoming address. as you heard ed there, chris, it is not -- we are hearing from white house officials on background that -- an announcement of military action that is taking place >> right. i kind of figured that because it is too early. you know. will is a considerable time difference. it is still only early evening
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in damascus. when the u.s. launches these kinds of my i will strikes, they like do it in the middle of the night when there are fewer people on the streets and less likelihood of collateral damage. we have all been reading tea leaves as to when the president is going to do this. will was one leak we read that the u.n. inspector, weapons inspectors, left syria earlier this morning. they are out of the country. as the u.n. spokesman said there are a thousand u.n. personnel in the country. the president leaves for europe, sweden, then for russia for a summit on tuesday. it seems like this is -- there is a small window. the arab league had a meeting scheduled for tuesday. it has been moved up to tomorrow. house members supposed to be briefed tomorrow with the president announcing a strike while a lot of people have not been fully briefed. there are a lot of puzzles there. seems like there may be a small window. maybe the president wants to give more of a sense to the country, i'm really thinking about this and i'm trying to get
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international support and really trying to consult with congress to make it a little bit easier when he pull it is trigger. at this point after john kerry's very forceful speech yesterday, it is unimaginable to me that he's not going to take military action at some point over the next few hours. >> it is interesting to watch this develop in that we are now talking about it for about five days. and -- >> they have been talking about it for even longer. the problem is, all of the talk and the problem is, of course, the targets are now shifting and moving. there's month doubt assad, at the direction of those who are running this civil war, in tehran, have moved all kinds of strategic assets out of the way of the attack. it is very difficult with cruise missile programs. you have two hours to get there. if they know that they launched, had start moving things even then. it is very difficult for us to hit something that's under way. second of all, the people who
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really are running this world are in tehran. they have been running the war for a better part of a year. it has been their operation. and so those who conduct this chemical attack, from everything we heard from the united nations and from the intelligence, debriefed in this country, it was a chemical attack launch by forces loyal to assad. if that's the case, and it turns out to be absolutely true, this missile attack isn't going to change any of that dynamic. and so you have to ask yourself what's the next thing that will happen. the strategy of firing cruise missiles as an answer to a problem has never worked. it didn't work for bill clinton when he fired at saddam hussein. didn't work when he fired them into a tent camp in afghanistan. didn't work when he fired them into a pharmaceutical plant . >> before the clinton strikes,
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do you remember any sense from president clinton that how many times president obama said that this is going to be a limited action. thats is not going to be a iraq or expanded. we heard a lot about that. how limited it will be. >> in fact, when clinton fired both in desert fox and shots he fired into afghanistan, the citation he made was about that 1986 when we attacked qaddafi for what he did in berlin. people will look back at what we did in those days. ronald reaganding call members of congress, brought them in to his confidence and told them what we were going to do. literally the night before. the plan was worked out very quietly for almost two weeks. between the 27 and 15th of april when the actual attack took place. and some of that liaison was to
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send special emissary to iran to meet for overflight rights. he turned us down which no one knew until the actual day of. now have all this international talk, all of the targets exposed and all -- here is what are options are. it will be limited and not boots on the ground. you have to ask yourself, what is the next thing that's going to happen? firing cruise missiles is not strategy. >> we live in a different time. 24/7 news, twitter and facebook. everything else. it is tough to be a leader of a military action of any type during that environment because people are second-guessing from the second that you even talk about anything. it is a challenge for this president. either way he goes. >> it is. i have to say that -- yesterday was fascinating. what a disconnect between the very powerful speech by john kerry in which he talked about assad as a thug and murderer who had gassed thousands of his own people and could not be allowed to act with impunity but then within minutes, the president
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speaks and the -- in the cabinet room and talks about limited action, short time, punitive, not regime change. and you have to ask yourself, he is a murderer and a thug, we are not going to allow to gas his people with impunity but we are going to allow him to kill 100,000 of his people with impunity as long as he doesn't do it with chemical weapons, he does it with bombs and guns. that's part of the disconnect here. if he's as much of a threat, assad, as john kerry, secretary of state said he was, we are now told is acting as of something of a hawk, leading advocate in the war council of the president, then why is the president talking about kind of fighting with one arm tied behind our back? >> meanwhile the sungs talking about this as well. james rosen has -- the u.n. angle. james? >> spokesman for the u.n. is saying today that any suggestion that the united nations by withdrawing the chemical weapons inspectors from the ground in syria and getting them out
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today, they have reached safety, any suggestion that that move by the u.n. to pull the inspectors is in essence allowing the united states to proceed with a military operation and stepping aside for that purpose to spokesman for the u.n. calls that grotesque. and notes that many, many u.n. workers, thousands, are still in syria delivering humanitarian relief and aid of one kind or another. now that we know with some degree of certainty that this speech by the president in the rose garden, just a few minutes from now will not be dealing with an imminent military strike, it is safe to say the president has several audiences, the american people, of course, congress, and the rest of the populations of the arab world, allies and our adversaries around the world, for this president particularly attuned to literature, audience is also history. there will be an intent to enshrine in international law and speech may not have been necessary if that action had gone differently in the british house of commons. >> chief washington
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correspondent, james rosen here in washington. monitoring the united nations angle. i will show the reaction there and movements that are happening. >> essentially right now, you have two parallel tracks going. israeli military is on high alert. they have moved their iron dome batteries here into position to protect tel aviv. remember, president assad has said if he is hit he will strike back. tel aviv will burn and thousands of people line up to get gas masks. syrians say television is broadcasting all sorts of propaganda in terms of what they will do in retaliation and also showing off a lot of their military might that they have. it is very significant in terms of regional abilities here. had have a lot of scud missiles they could use to retaliate and obviously have zpangs other military hardware on the goalla heights. they have chemical weapons we
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heard on the move. one of the things that's -- grave concern to the israelis here is that over the past five or six days that the discussion in washington has gone on so publicly is that has given a lot of time for the syrians and also the iranians to make threats and at one point they may actually end up having to live up to. that's something that's awfully scary for the israelis here. syrians, for their part, are moving a lot of their missile batteries out into fighting positions, particularly up into some of the mountainous areas where it would be difficult for cruise missiles to get them. a number of these missiles aren't icbms in the sense of american missiles but actually mobile scud launchers much more difficult to target with cruise miss skills and trying to move chemical weapons storerooms around. these things is what the israelis are monitoring as we speak. obviously everyone here, who is waiting for the news of the u.n. inspectors, to head out, that was seen as kind of a point in a change in the tenor of what
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might happen. interestingly here, every single speech that has been given on this issue by an american official, be it obviously the president's comments, or secretary of state kerry's comments, taken live already as watching the israeli channels in live coverage. also waiting for the president and seeing what happens with the united states here, obviously could have an immediate impact here on tel aviv or the rest of the northern part of israel. all within missile range. not only the syrians but hezbollah and lebanon which is closely binged to president assad. there is an awful lot of nervous people here. government of israel says they do no want anyone to panic but are certainly ready and willing to retaliate the attack. >> that's the most dangerous statement because of the possible tinderbox that obviously is the middle east. very quickly, before i head back to ed henry at the white house, you mentioned the nervousness there. are gas masks being passed out
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in israel? have they been preparing in recent days for some sort of attack should there be a retaliation after whatever the u.s. and allies do? >> israelis moved their anti-missiles into place and manned protecting tel aviv, other main cities that are on standby. weekend leave for soldiers has been canceled and there have been thousands of people lining up for hours to get their government to issue gas masks. the government gives everyone here a free gas mask but not everyone has one and not everyone's canister is up to date. a couple of days ago there were fights over the gas masks. provide and saturday here as the weekend. so tomorrow morning you can bet those lines will be even longer as people are desperate all over this country to make sure they are prepared. obviously president assad has shown the willingness to use chemical weapons. no one really thinks here he is willing to use them in israel. but people are certainly very
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frightened over it. >> thank you. now heading backing to chief white house correspondent ed henry at the white house. chris wallace mentioned that the president is traveling next week. as of tuesday. so should some limited action happen, one would think it would be limited enough before he leaves the country? >> that's right. either that or if he comes out now in a few moments and says we immediate more time, we are going to wait for the arab league, we are going to this carefully, part of what he is doing in russia the g-20 summit. with key allies like david cameron of britain. he could also end up huddling with them at that summit and come back next week and do something. obviously that would be an awful lot of time, would have given assad a lot of time to move his assets, critics would be piling on the president. that's one option he has. you may hear noise behind me. a sizable protest outside of the northwest gates here.
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syrian flags and the large majority of people who are protesting are saying obama, hands off syria. this is a nobel peace prize winner. he's thinking about the history books. yesterday the president mentioned in the cabinet room remarks that chris wallace was talking about that he understands the nation is war we are write and says he is as well. he ended the war in iraq. his critics say too soon. he is trying toned the war in afghanistan. a debate still raging in congress how soon that should be wrapped up. look, even if the nation is war weary, even if the commander in chief is not sure about another military option, operation, whether that should come in, presidents have to make tough decisions. take that from george w. bush w who will not enter into the fray of this but understands what president obama is going through. he has been in that oval office. making these tough calls. there is only a few living americans who will understand how difficult these positidecis
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are. >> we are given the heads up of 1:15 eastern time for this statement. as often happens, with this white house, it is a bit delayed. we don't have a two-minute warning as of yet. we are back with our panel, chris wallace and ollie north. what do you expect him to say? is this more laying out the case? >> i think we will probably -- with a situation where he will announce he will continue to deliberate on this and will try to build some relationships. my guess is because the window is so narrow. you would have to do this tomorrow night. sunday might. because he is not going to do it before he briefs the rest of the members of congress. that's going to be tomorrow. he is going to leave monday night for sweden and then -- but -- that gives him essentially sunday night or monday night to make the attack. you probably don't want to be meeting with foreign leaders while you have cruise missiles flying through the air hitting targets and propaganda value
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that will give in syria to holding up dead children like we have all seen this kind of thing happen before. let me make one other point quickly before he does walk out. what he ought to tell us is that he's taking every possible step to improve security, every american embassy, throughout the middle east and africa. 9/11 is just the anniversary, very important date, for all these terrorist movements and anniversary date, forgot it last year with benghazi, he dare not forget witness this one. this is now going to be another reason for the temperature to go up, people that would like to attack americans, diplomatic posts, citizens, private citizens overseas. better make some kind of announcement he i am proved security before 9/11. this would be a great opportunity to do that. >> by the way, you may have more time to make more comments. because we still don't have word from the president or the white house about this statement. >> we have a pool going on over here as to how long -- >> over-under ten minutes and i
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have over ten minutes. we are now 6 1/2 minutes in. >> just to be clear, the president will leave tuesday might. there is that window, as you mentioned, sunday and monday. >> it will be a nighttime attack. >> let me say, it well could be more than one might. you would assume that they are going to want to strike one night and then by daylight, take a look and get damage assessment to see what they commit not hit and leave themselves it is opportunity to go back and striking a second night. you have to think they want two or lee nights to conduct this attack. i talked to a person in the white house, an official, and -- i was discussing the timeline for this. who said that for the president to be a at the time g-20 summit income st. petersburg with vladimir putin, in russia, strong ally of assad, at a time all of this is going down, would be, quote, incredibly awkward. on the other hand, to pick up on ed henry's point, it seems to me for the president to delay --
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does not get back until next friday, it doesn't seem the timing has been a friend to the president p vote in parliament that defeated britain getting involved in this. who knows what happens. you would think most of the things that happen between now and next friday would be impediments, not support, for his action. i would think he would want to get going. >> he is heading to russia. we heard from vladimir put wrin, russian president, very critical of this president. potential action against syria. he called it -- if it happens, sad. and have a number of prettiy pointed comments. we are getting word from our producers in the rose garden right now that you can see the president in the oval office lou the windows on the phone. he's on the phone at this moment. we don't know who he is talking with. talking about this coalition, chris, it has been tough for had
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white house, for this president, to get allies onboard. for all the criticism that the coalition of the -- took before iraq in 2002, 2003, this is not large coalition so far. >> no. it is interesting because so many of the opponents of the iraq war sniffed about george w. bush's coalition of the -- started out when -- looking at had in terms of "fox news sunday," 30 countries. that's a u.n. compared to what going on. britain is now officially out. the only country in nato that says they may take military action is france. which is interesting because they opposed our military actions in iran. turkey has talked about at least support. the arab league talked about support but not military action. i can think of only one country, france, that spoke about putting
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weapons where its rhetoric is. coalition of willing of george w. bush looks strong now in comparison to this. >> germany speaking out against this. you have -- >> all of the european nato countries opposed to it. i doubt seriously that the u.n. work is going to change any of that. turkey is a nato ally and wants us to do something significant. it should be pointed out, however, has not been backing the secular movement of the syrian army. they have been voting most of the aid coming in militarily and humanitarian, most radical elements and people forget it was once a close ally of morsi and cairo is very much widely regarded inside of turkey. among the seculars as a radical muslim. so he is not really on our side. he is just opposed to assad. >> can i pick up one other point about the u.n. that ollie was talking about. the u.n. will come up at some point with this report on the -- what they found on the ground.
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was it a chemical attack? one of the concerns was the reason that the assad regime was shelling those areas so much was to rye to dispel, the chemical evidence, chemical weapons. what if the president were to wait a week and then the u.n. were to come back and report, we don't have any evidence of the chemical attack. that is the kind of thing you assume they are taking into their calculation before they decide whether or not to strike. i'm not sure time is their friend? we are looking live at the rose garden. waiting for president obama to deliver remarks. we are hearing from the producers in the rose garden the protesters outside the white house are audible inside the rose garden. pretty loud. we just saw movement inside of the oval office. the president put on his jacket. we could see movement to the podium very soon. in the meantime let's check in with james rosen. secretary of state kerry has taken a prominent role.
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chris mentioned yesterday, impassioned outlay of the intelligence and also why it is important for the u.s. to do something. your thoughts covering secretary kerry and his role in this entire affair. >> no question that secretary kerry yesterday with his speech delivering the intelligence assessment of the united states government with respect to the chemical weapon attack of august 21 enjoyed his biggest moment on the world stage since assuming office in february. there has been criticism this morning since retired intelligence officers of the kind -- that says why do we have our secretary of state delivering an intelligence assessment? why do we not have an int intelligence officer delivering the assessment. dating back to the cuban missile crisis, it showed soviet missiles installed at the united nations security council, going back to colin powell when he was secretary of state and holding that vial as he addressed a word audience displaying what our
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intelligence officials have picked up. what is interesting about the speech the president giving today is that it may reflect some assessment on the part of the obama administration and that perhaps the secretary, for all his sxags skill of delivering the message the intelligence product itself was less than persuasive to the particular audiences it was meant to appease. >> tux that position of secretary kerry making the speech and what the president said was really striking. >> it was. first of all, again, we are pay ing a lot of attention as we should to optics. the fact this was going to be delivered to today's speech in the rose garden told us that perhaps it was not going to announce imminent military action as that would normally be reserved for oval office, map room, so forth. yesterday's optics were off as well when we heard present secretary kerry in his formal setting in which by most accounts that kerry acquitted himself well. then we heard from the president, eastern european
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leaders, in the cabinet room it looked to me, correct me if i am wrong if i'm wrong that, a shaky camera, because it was a pool camera. it seemed hastily arranged and did not carry with it the message the president was trying to zblifr let's turn to the pentagon. we have been talking about the military action and what could develop and obviously we are -- reading tea leaves and trying to get from the administration what something could look like. everything the president said is it is going to be limited. it will not be a situation where boots are on the ground. we heard that from the president yesterday. jennifer griffin, if it is a sustained over would, lee days, you are talking about possibly quite a few cruise missiles going in. >> during the libyan operation, there were 211 tomahawk missiles fired. those missiles, of course, cost about $1.5 million apiece. do you the math. about how much an operation like this would cost. what i'm being told is that from a planning perspective, will
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were options presented to the president and included up to 96 hours of air strikes. nothing beyond that. the officials i'm speaking to and those with knowledge of the potential strike, suggested it is more likely to be in the realm of hours, one night of air strikes, then they do the bomb damage assessment and then if it is necessary, to go back in and strike again. that's what they would do. again, all of? is left up to the president and it shows just how difficult it is to go to war or to even carry out a military strike as a democracy. as have you seen, the leaks, all week, every day had a goes by, you have defense officials tell me the target list shifts a little bit and the -- bases have been emptied of the scud missiles that would be part of the target in this. we know that they will not target the chemical weapons stores because of the potential for releasing chemicals into the air. they would have liked to have targeted the scud missiles,
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artillery used to deliver those missiles. those are on the move as we speak. >> speaking of leaking, we have done a mum of stories without this administration going after leakers. including the story that involved our own chief washington correspondent james jones. when it came to this military operation, boy, this has been something to watch. the leaks that are coming out of the white house and every aspect of washington about what potentially may happen. on the battle damage assessment, that's a dash major thing. getting an assessment and strike again what hasn't been hit. what kind of assets are we talking about to be able to determine what is on the ground after a tomahawk cruise missile strike on the first night. >> remember, they already have those assets in place. they have satellite imagery and have -- signals intelligence and geospacial imagery. they have the ability to see, again, once the dust settles, to
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do the assessment and that's what they do in situations like this. that's what we remember from the beginning of the iraq war. you would see the shock and awe. incredible skyline at night. again, that's -- as chris mentioned, this -- there is no doubt that it would take place at might. what i have been hearing over time, anyone who has watched how these kind of missions go down, the administration likes to carry this out on a weekend, over a weekend because -- they don't want the collateral damage and don't want to strike the streets of damascus when everyone is on hair way to work. again, the windows for these kind of military actions, they are -- small and they come and go. and certainly with the president taking off next week, it really complicates military planning. >> everything we have heard so far, we heard a lot, about the potential military action, this is probably going to be very little shock. we just don't know how much awe. joining us now, former ambassador, u.s. ambassador to
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the united nations, mr. john bolton. what do you think about this as we get ready to hear from the president? you have been critical of how this has all rolled out this week. >> you heard james rosen refer a moment ago to adelaide stephenson at the u.n. during the cuban missile crisis. i think the way the president has discussed his options on syria is more like adelaide stephenson, the presidential candidate. on one hand, on the other hand. i just think that this is not going to help the president in his continuing efforts, i assume, to put together diplomatic coalition. the arab league in a stunning decision a few days ago decided to ask the members of the security council, meaning the united states and russia, to find agreement which isn't going to happen. now, the arab league meets again tomorrow but there is no indication that they are about to change that position. the europeans, as you discussed earlier, france -- has supported action but has not yet said it will actually participate
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militarily. japan may come onboard but the -- the -- impression, i think, here is the dip know matcally, if anything, the president is losing ground and that more delay will make it to change that. >> wear 19 minutes past the time the white house first told us about an address from the rose garden. ambassador, we are where we are. this is a difficult position for this president. because of what he said about the red line. the position he put himself in, statements early on, actually a year and -- some two weeks ago. now that we are where we are, what would you do? >> well, i still would not attack. and every indication that the president has given is that it is going to be a -- limited proportional response. now, that can change. lord knows. that can change. but if he follows through with that, i think that could well be worse than doing nothing at all.
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because a weak response to the use of chemical weapons signals assad and iran that they can continue their programs of chemical and nuclear weapons. perhaps not as -- at no cost but at a very minimal cost. and i think there is one other key aspect. the president treated this as though the syrians have done something unacceptable, using chemical weapons and will respond. as if that's tend of it. the president said i made my retaliatory strikes. we are finished. in the real world that's not the way it works. there is no indication from secretary of state kerry or the president they thought through what happens when the retaliatory strike the finished, what comes next? what other threats to the united states, to its trends and allies in its rail and the region, emerge. what do you do then? a strategy is more than one checker jumping over another. >> stand by, if you would.
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we are getting word there will be a classified briefing on capitol hill for house members at 2:00 p.m. eastern time sunday. that's from our capitol hill producer. you wonder, obviously, about the timing of my potential military action as the briefings continue to be announced on capitol hill. speaking of that, there has been pushback about the role of congress and even as house members and senators are being briefed by this white house. ed henry back at the white house. you had -- senator cornyn come out saying, quote, before any military action is taken in syria, the president should call congress back into session and ask for a vote on the authorization to use force. he is not alone. the texas senator is not alone in that statement. what is the white house thinking on that? and the briefing schedule and possibility of calling congress back? doesn't seem like -- >> you are right. they are thinking inside the
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when i talked to senior officials, they say they are con suggesting congress but they are not getting congress' approval. that's a big different frens what the president said he would do when he was a candidate in 2007-2008. let's remember the vice president joe biden, running for president, and in 2007 he was at a new hampshire campaign event where he said as senate foreign relations committee chairman at the time, then president bush moved forward with an attack on iran, try to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons and did without congressional approval, joe biden said he would personally lead impeachment charges against then president bush. we see a much different situation going on now. where they are moving forward without congressional approval. you are right. there is pressure. it is not just john cornyn who is significant. not just a rank and file, a leader, the whip, behind mitch mcconnell, the leader, number one. have you democrats as well. joe manchin of west virginia came out last might and said, mr. president, you cannot move forward with any military force
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without first getting a debate and vote in the house and senate. now, what is the likelihood of that? highly unlikely because we talked to officials in both parties and got lawmakers scattered around the country and world. on their august recess right now. it is an important matter and have to cancel plans and come back. monumental effort. more poimportantly the white hoe has not signaled they want to have that debate. they want to have conference calls with law makers and loop them in with what they are doing but don't want to bring it up for a vote. if you look at what happened before the british parliament a couple nights ago, her not too sure in the building behind me they can get this through the house and senate right now. will would be significant democratic opposition to this democratic president. the final point i will make on that is you are right about the timing of this being significant because the briefings i have been talking about with the consultation, including today, there have been some, over the last couple of days, conference calls, lawmakers, they have been unclassified. the information on those calls very general.
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not specific and not secret, sensitive information. there will be classified briefings on the hill before lawmakers. that suggests -- does not prove anything but gives you a tea leaf that more sensitive information will be passed to congress in the middle of the afternoon tomorrow gives you a sense maybe we will be edging closer then. not today but tomorrow to some sort of action. >> ed henry at the white house. you can hear the protesters behind ed. apparently you can hear them in the rose garden as well. around the corner from where ed is standing on north lawn. speaking of congress, joining us n , congresswoman, you have been hearing this discussion, thank you for being here. what are your thoughts about an authorization? what are your thoughts about what the president has said up until now? >> well, i think congress right reply gets -- slammed for not being bipartisan in the spirit and not moving things along.
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but -- this president has brought us together. will is bipartisan opposition to us taking military action in syria. we really have not had the information that we needed. the president boxed himself in by saying this red line cannot be crossed. now what? we are going to do these limited strikes and the day after those limited, people will be in this bloody -- bloodbath in syria. the president must seek congressional authorization. he is not going to. he must have a -- international coalition. he will not get that. much maligned george w. bush presidency, what did he do? before we went to iraq and afghanistan? he got a strong bipartisan authorization vote from congress and he got not one but 16 u.n. security council resolutions. and he had a coalition of almost 50 countries. during all of that time, then senators obama, biden and kerry
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couldn't stop criticizing the go-it-alone president bush strategy. when all the facts were to the contrary. just suppose this with what president obama is doing. he is going it all alone. who is with us? had just said they will support it. we don't have any indication france will get involved. i very few allies are willing to get involved. this window of opportunity is taking action is getting shorter and shorter. we should go back to congress, we should have this open debate and he needs to make the -- mess waj to the american people, he hasn't sold the message to the american people. he hasn't convinced congress and he has brought us together in a bipartisan way to oppose this unilateral action against syria. >> congresswoman, we are 26 minutes past the time the white house said that president is going to come out. you are against this action. what about the use of chemical weapons by al assad?
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should there be some retribution? should there be some payment, if you will, some consequence, for doing this? >> well, i think we must act in this limited strike. i don't think that it is a correct way of doing it. i think he maids on get authorization for it. but he has boxed himself in by saying this is a red line. assad can not cross it. he's crossed it. the united states says he has crossed it. we still have a u.n. team that evaluated the evidence and samples they collected in syria. now, if we were to have a debate in congress and if we were to have a vote and i would be convinced this is the right action to take, i would be willing to support the president. just like i supported president bush even though all of these pokes, when they were senators, they bashed president bush to no end. >> i understand that. >> we have an important role to play. >> i understand the politics part of it. i understand looking back on what they said before. as i said, ambassador bolton, we
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are where we are here. if you get to your classified brief, briefing tomorrow, 2:00 p.m. for house members, they present compelling evidence to you, would that be enough to convince you to move forward on supporting the president without authorization from congress? >> he needs to get authorization from congress. he can make a powerful case to the member of congress and make a powerful case to convince the american people. my constituents, i hear it all the time, wherever i go, they are war weary. this is when we had international coalitions and say what will happen now with syria. we will take this limited strike because we crossed that red line. we need to react. what happens the next day? we will have say sawed killing his own people. if there were an opportunity act, it should have come before. but you are right. this is where we are now. what choices do we have?
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we need to have those limited strikes. but i'm not saying that they are going to solve anything. but the president said it is a red line. he has to act on it. he has not made the case to the american people. much less to the members of congress. >> if the president decided to wait, if we hear today that he is going to wait, present this to congress, and if congress, these are hypotheticals, like the british parliament, voted against it, would you be okay with that in the wake of chemical weapons being used in syria? >> well, i think that -- the use of chemical weapons is a horrible thing. it is a horrible thing to be killed whether it is by a bomb or by a bullet. you are still dead either way you -- either way you look at it. we have set the standard now that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. we have used that as the standard. then you have to act when somebody uses them but what -- what i'm saying is that you
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needing to act with authorization from congress even if -- if xyou don't get it, you suffer the consequences. look, i went to the american people. i went to the congress. i didn't get what i wanted. i still think that this is the correct use of military force. i am the commander in chief. i think you would get a lot of opposition for the president's use of the military that way. because it is not his military. it is the military of the united states of america. he is our commander in chief. he can use his military options that way. but what a revolution you would have in the country where he could go against congress. that's why we should have had congressional authorization in libya. we set the standard already. he did it himself. we set the standard for not getting the -- not respecting the constitution. not respecting the war powers resolution act of 1973. he has boxed himself in. i think that's why we see the teleprompters going up there. by the podium.
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because he doesn't want to make these ad lib kind of remarks where he is going to find himself in a very difficult situation the day after. we should be called back. we should have a vote. we should have that classified briefing. all we have had are these unclassified conference calls and -- that's not really the information we immediate. >> thank you very much. down from miami. we are back with our panel here. chris wallace, fox news sunday anchor. and ollie north, fox news military analyst. do you think all modern presidents talk to much in advance of the scope and timing of military action? we are just getting word, under would minutes now. >> i will keep this short. your point is well made. we are where we are. but this is a colossal collapse of consensus building like i have never seen. this president, a we are ago, said it was a red line.
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chris, you have been in this town a long time looking at politics. ronald reagan the man i work for, didn't wait a year to start building a coalition. when the -- something needs to be done. george bush did. and what he should have done right after he drew his red line, nothing wrong with that, is he failed to follow up with our allies. he failed to follow up politically. he is now caught as a consequence of what transpired a week ago. >> one of the problems is the fact this president is am bif blent taking the action. you can hear it in the statement yesterday. on the one hand you will say we need to fire a shot across the bow which is hardly a ringing call to action. next minute he will say it is limited. no boots on the ground. no regime change. he is -- ambivalent. interesting to see what he says to that. >> stand by. we will pause and bring in our fox news stations.
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>> this is fox news breaking coverage of the president's speech on the situation in syria. we are live in washington. president obama set to make a statement from the rose garden on the crisis in syria. officials have said that there is evidence that syrian government and president al assad used chemical weapons on its civilians. briefed members of the senate today on their plans. this just hours after the united nations inspectors, weapons inspectors, left syria with samples to be tested for traces of chemical weapons. as we wait for the president here, we can tell you there are a number of briefings scheduled for other members of congress. the house members are scheduled for a classified briefing up on capitol hill. 2:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. we also know that the united nations has been active talking about this. talking about the possibility of military action. the arab league wants to weigh in and meet on this as well. tomorrow. the president has been on the phone as has secretary of state
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kerry, talking abototal ice. the coalition has been tough to build. so far france has said they will support the united states. but not said yet about military action and being a part of that. we currently have six naval war ships in the mediterranean. they are prepared, we are told, by pentagon officials, at any moment to get the word from the president to launch strikes. the president has talked at length about how the strikes, if they move forward, makes this decision, will be limited in scope. they will not include boots on the ground. the president said he is going to con to talk to congress and allies around the world as we wait for the latest from him. he was scheduled to come out at 1:15 eastern time. after a delay and our producers in the rose garden looking through the window there at the oval office, saying he was on the telephone for quite some
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time. we expect that he will be out in just a matter of moments. let's turn now to chief white house correspondent ed henry as we wait for the final seconds for the president to enter. lay this out porous. what you are hearing, ed, about what potentially we could hear from the president. >> what we are expecting from senior official it is president will walk out in the rose garden in a moment and say he is not authorizing u.s. military action. at least not yet. that he's still consulting with allies and he's still consulting with congress. and, in fact, just -- that he is also trying to weigh all the options very carefully. >> let me interrupt you. the president of the united states and vice president joe biden in the rose garden. >> good afternoon, everybody. ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.
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yesterday the united states presented a powerful case that the syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people. our intelligence shows the assad regime and forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of damascus, and acknowledging that chemical weapons attack took place. all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see. hospitals overflowing with victims. terrible images of the dead. all tol-- several hundred child were killed. young boys and girls gassed to death by their own government. this attack is an assault on human dignity. it also presents a serious danger to our national security.
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it risks making a mockery of the global prohibition of the use of chemical weapons. endangers our friends and partners along syria's borders. including israel, jordan, turkey, lebanon and iraq. it could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. the world with many dangers this menace must be confronted. after careful deliberation, i have decided the united states should take military action against syrian regime targets. not an open-ended intervention. would not put boots on the ground. instead our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. i'm confident that we can hold the assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons and deter this kind of behavior and degrade their capacity to
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carry it out. our military has positioned as nets the region and chairman of the joint chiefs has informed we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. the chairman indicated to me our staff to execute this mission is not time sensitive. it will be effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now. i'm prepared to give that order. but having made my decision as commander in chief, based on what i am convinced is our national security interest, i'm also mindful that i'm the president of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. i have long believed our power is rooted not just in our military might but in our example as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. that's why i made a second decision. i will seek authorization for the use of force from the
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american people's representatives in congress. for the last several days, we heard from members of congress who want their voices to be heard. i absolutely agree. this morning, i spoke with all four congressional leaders and they have agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as congress comes back into session. in the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in syria, and why it had such profound implications for america's national security. all of us should be accountable as we move forward. that can only be accomplished with a vote. i'm confident in the case our government has made without waiting for u.n. inspections. i'm comfortable going forward without the approval of a united nations security council that so heart pba completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold assad
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accountable. as a consequence many people advised against taking this decision to congress. and undoubtedly they were impacted by what we saw happen in the united kingdom this week when the parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar vote even as the prime minister supported taking action. yet while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know that the country will be stronger if we take this course and our actions will be even more effective. we should have this debate. the issues are too big for business as usual. this morning, john boehner, harry reid, nancy pelosi, mitch mcconnell, agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy. the country faces few decisions as grave as using military force. even when the force is limited. i respect the views of hose who call for caution.
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particularly as our country emerges from a time of war and that i was elected in part to end. if we really do want to turn away from taking appropriate action in the face of such an unspeakable outrage, then we must acknowledge the costs of doing nothing. here is my question, for every member of congress, and every member of the global community, what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death in plain sight and pay no price? what's the purpose of the international system we built if a prohibition on the use of chemical weapons that has been agreed to by the government of 98% of the world's people? and approved overwhelmingly by the congress of the united states is not enforced? make month mistake. this has implications beyond chemical warfare. if we won't enforce the accountability of this heinous
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act what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who play under international rules? the governments that choose to build nuclear arms? the terrorists who would spread biological weapons? the armies who carry out genocide? we cannot raise our children in a world where we will not poll lou on the things we say. the accords we sign. the values that define us. just as i will take this case to congress, i will also deliver this message to the world. while the u.n. investigation has some time to report on its finding, we will insist that an atrocity committed with chemical weapons is not investigated, it must be confronted. i don't expect every nation to agree with the decision we made. privately, we have heard many expressions of support from our friends. but i will ask those that care about thor and national community to stand publicly behind our action.
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finally, let me say this to the american people. i know well that we are weary of war. we ended one war in iraq and ending another in afghanistan. the american people have a good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in syria with our military. that part of the world, are ancient sectarian differences. changes will take many years to resolve. that's why we are not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else's war. instead we will don't support the syrian people through our pressure on the assad regime and commitment to the opposition, care the pursuit of the political government that respect it is dignity of its people. but we are the united states of america. we cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in
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damascus. weigh built an international order and enforced the rules that gave it meaning. we did so because we believed that the rights of individuals to live in peace and dignity depends on the responsibilities of nations. we are perfect but this nation more than any other has been willing to meet those responsibilities. all members of congress, both parties, i ask you to take this vote for our national security. i am looking forward to the debate. in doing so i ask you, members of congress, to consider that some things are more important than partisan differences or the politics of the moment. ultimately this is not about who occupies this offense at any given time. it is about who we are as a country. i believe that the people's representatives must be invested in what america does abroad. now is the time to show the world that america keeps our commitment. we do what we say.
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we lead with the belief that right makes might. not the other way around. we all know will are no easy options. i wasn't elected to avoid our decisions and neither were the members of the house and senate. i have told you what i believe and our security and our values demand we can not turn away from the massacre of countless civilians with chemical weapons. our democracy is stronger when the president and the people's representatives stand together. i'm ready to act in the face of this operation. today i'm asking congress to send a message to the world. we are ready to move forward together as one nation. thanks very much. >> will you forego a strike if congress disapproves? >> president barack obama saying the u.s. should take military action against syria but also saying that he will seek